The Italian house of Bvlgari now owned by the French group LVMH since 2011, was originally founded in 1884 by a Greek goldsmith named Sotirios Voulgaris who Italianized his name for the matter. The Eye of Jewelry tells you how did it all started and why can Bvlgari/Bulgari can be spelt two ways.
One needs to go back to 1884 to find the origins of the Bvlgari brand. Sotirios Voulgaris was a Greek goldsmith who started out as a jeweler, opening his original shop which can still be seen today in Paramythia, Greece. He then moved to Rome in 1881, and three years later the Bulgari brand was born (as was his second store, in Via Sistina). It’s only in 1910 that Voulgaris started specializing into jewelry creations. Today’s flagship Bulgari store can be found in Via dei Condotti, where it has been trading since it opened in 1905.
The Bulgari style was initially derived from the inclusion of the finest colored stones in many of the jewelry items. They also quickly became known as a fine jeweler – a creator of the finest and most detailed items available in Italy. Of course, this element of the brand ensured they became well-known throughout the world too.
While there are many modern Bvlgari pieces to purchase, some may wish to purchase vintage Bvlgari jewelry. As one might imagine, this can be harder to find. The quality and heritage built into the Bvlgari brand has made many older pieces much sought after by collectors and those with a love of vintage jewelry, specially the Serpenti pieces set with gemstones and original tubogas bracelets. Some jewelers and collectors have a selection of second-hand vintage items from the range. It is important to find a source you can rely on that is well-established in the vintage jewelry industry. They may be able to source vintage items bearing the Bvlgari name for you.
Many ponder over the spelling of the Bulgari name. Why is it seen as both Bulgari and Bvlgari? In truth, the company name is Bulgari, which is the phonetic way the founder’s name Voulgaris is spelled in Italian. Since that is the birthplace of Bulgari, that is how the name began. When you see Bvlgari – or BVLGARI, as it is often seen – this is the logo for the company. It also appears in this form on the jewelry, such as the items in the B.Zero1 ring collection. The reason a V is used in place of a U is because the Roman alphabet shows it as such – yet another link to the history of the company.